Do We Have the Right to Our Rights?

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There are some Christians who might wonder whether we have the authority to claim the rights of life, liberty, and property, or if we should step aside when they become threatened and allow them to be taken from us. In other words: Do we have the right to our rights?

Life, liberty, and property are God-given rights. This means that as individuals we are born with these privileges and the only one who can take them away from us is the One who gave them to us—God. God did not give these rights to the government to take away or to distribute to a certain few. Furthermore, no one has the right to encroach upon or take away another’s rights. Samuel Adams said:

It is the greatest absurdity to suppose it [would be] in the power of one, or any number of men. . .to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defense of those very rights; the principal of which . . . are life, liberty, and property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of civil society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate his gift and voluntarily become a slave.

The Bible provides proof that each individual is given the right to life, liberty, and property. The book of Exodus relates how God gave the Israelites liberty from their bondage in Egypt. Later, they were to obey the Ten Commandments, which protected life (“Thou shalt not murder”) and property (“Thou shalt not steal”). Further proof rests in the fact that God has blessed those nations which honor and respect the principles of the rights of life, liberty, and property.

We must remember that property does not solely stand for material things but also inherent things, as James Madison clarifies:

As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.

Certainly, we have the right to our rights because God gave them to us to enjoy, and to be used for His glory, as stated in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

. . . .It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God, For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

Because it is God who gave us these rights, it is foolish to squander these rights, or to allow them to be taken from us.


Mattern, David B., ed. James Madison’s “Advice to My Country.” University Press of Virginia, 1997.

Skousen, W. Cleon. The Making of America, 3rd ed., revised. National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version.

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